Social Innovation Glossary

Abatement cost curve
Standard instrument developed by McKinsey & Co. used to illustrate the supply side of economics of abatement initiatives aimed at reducing emissions of pollutants such as greenhouse gases. Starting from an estimate of baseline emissions, the cost and potential for additional abatement measures are calculated in order to construct a menu of options for abatement

Key principle of UN Millennium Development Goals; to universal access to education, safe drinking water and basic sanitation, reproductive health, nutrition, and affordable essential drugs. Also to provide tariff and quote free market access for exports from Least Developed Countries (LDC).

Actions normally aimed to influence policy and resource allocation decisions within public institutions. Advocacy tools may include research, publications, polls, petitions, workgroups, media campaigns, public consultations, and legislative lobbying.

Agenda 21
A sustainable development program run by the United Nations (UN), consisting of a comprehensive blueprint of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the UN, governments, and major groups in every area in which humans impact on the environment. The number 21 refers to the 21st century.

Alternative energy
Energy sources that are an alternative to using fossil fuels, which generally refer to energies that are non-traditional and have low environmental impact. See also renewable energy.

Auctioning systems
Auctions are a process of buying and selling goods and services by offering them up for bids, and selling them to the highest bidder. Reverse auctions aim to drive purchase prices downward, when sellers compete to provide lower quotes for a product or service until the lowest possible bid. Auctioning is conducted in person or remotely through the telephone or internet, and is used by corporations, governments, and the non-profit sector such as in spectrum rights (for telephone networks), major infrastructure projects, energy, charitable or community projects, debt instruments, and emission trading schemes.

Avoidable blindness
Vision impairment or blindness that could be either treated or prevented by known, cost-effective means. Under the Vision 2020 initiative, the World Health Organization (WHO) targets diseases such as Cataract, Refractive Error, Trachoma, Childhood Blindness, Low Vision, Onchocerciasis/River Blindness, Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy, and Age-Related Macular Degeneration.

Management process used and particularly in strategy evaluation, where organizations evaluate various aspects of their strengths or performance in relation to common industry practices, usually against peer organizations. Eden scans for analogous benchmarks across countries, industries, and functions, in order to develop breakthrough gold standards for its clients.

Bottom of the Pyramid
The poorest but largest socio-economic group of 2.5 billion people in the world who live on less than $2 a day. Used to develop new, disruptive business models and products, such as micro-credit, sachet marketing, or community-based initiatives that deliberately target the untapped market potential that this segment of customers represent. Also known as Base of the Pyramid or BoP.

Business ethics 
A field of professional applied ethics that examines moral principles in a business environment. A key business ethics challenge occurs when the economic objectives of business are perceived to be at odds with social or personal values. Common ethical issues may relate to the relationship between a company and its shareholders (e.g. fiduciary responsibilities, executive compensation), in its management (e.g. privacy, discrimination), between different companies (e.g. hostile takeovers, industrial espionage), and with society (e.g. political contributions, stem cell research) Also known as Corporate Ethics.

Capacity building
Assistance provided to entities, usually societies in developing countries, which have a need to develop a certain skill or competence, or for general upgrading of capabilities. Also used by governments to transform community and industry approaches to social and environmental problems.

Carbon trading
A market proposed by the Kyoto Protocol, where signatory countries receives a cap on the carbon emissions that companies operating in it are allowed to produce. Countries and/or companies may buy and sell the Voluntary or Certified Emission Reductions assigned to them in primary or secondary markets under the Clean Development Mechanism. Also known as Carbon Emissions Trading.

Carrying capacity
Theoretical limit to the capacity of a natural ecosystem to support continued increase in consumption of its resources and in generation of pollution without being overwhelmed. It depends on factors such as population size and density, and rate of renewability of its resources.

Cause marketing
Type of marketing involving the cooperative efforts of a “for profit” business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit. Cause marketing differs from corporate giving (philanthropy) as the latter generally involves a specific donation that is tax deductible, while cause marketing is a marketing relationship generally not based on a donation.

A type of non-profit organization formed for charitable purposes. See also non-profit organizations.

Ethical usage, allocation, and protection of the environment, including habitats, biodiversity, materials, and energy, to prolong and sustain existing natural resources for the future.

Consumer rights
Safeguarding of consumer interests (e.g. toy safety, public health, and ethical sourcing) with industry best practices such as information transparency, fair competition, freedom of choice, lobbying platforms, and regulatory standards.

Corporate Ethics
See Business Ethics

Corporate Governance
A set of processes, standards, policies, laws, and institutions guiding the corporations’ administrative directives, and upholding the accountability of the company to shareholders, management, board of directors, and other stakeholders. Governance-based approaches tend to regulate and limit behavior, rather than seek growth opportunities from business initiatives that create social impact.

Modularization of a skill-based process into specific steps or tasks by the introduction of technology and equipment, resulting in cost savings, lowered barriers to entry, and the elimination of skilled labor in an industry or economy.

Developmental Economics
A field of economics addressing low-income, developing, and emerging economies, which focuses on regulations, policies, practices, and methods of promoting economic growth and structural change for a community. Such methods may include education, financing, healthcare, and employment initiatives.

Responsible travel to natural areas to help conserve the environment. A integral goal is also to promote recycling, energy efficiency, resources conservation and to foster economic and social opportunities for indigenous populations.

Greenhouse gases
Gases that act as a shield that traps heat in the earth’s atmosphere. The resulting greenhouse gas effect is believed to contribute to global warming.

Hybrid cars
Automobiles with more than one power source, such as an electric motor and internal combustion engine or an electric motor with battery and fuel cells for energy storage.

Kyoto Protocol
An international agreement that aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and the presence of greenhouse gases. Countries that ratify the Kyoto Protocol are assigned maximum carbon emission levels and can participate in carbon credit trading.

Non-profit / not-for-profit organisations (NPOs); non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
Organizations that do not distribute surplus funds to shareholders, but instead uses them to help pursue its goals. Examples include charitable organizations, trade unions, and public arts organizations

Renewable energy
Effective use of natural resources such as, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat, which may be naturally replenished. Renewable energy technologies range from solar power, wind power, hydroelectricity/micro hydro, biomass and biofuels for transportation

Social economy
A third sector in economies between the private sector and business or, the public sector and government. It includes organisations such as cooperatives, non-governmental organisations and charities.

Social innovation
New strategies, concepts, ideas and organizations that meet social needs of all kinds – from working conditions and education to community development and health and that extend and strengthen civil society. Social innovation can take place within government, within companies, or within the nonprofit sector.

Social Return on Investment (SROI)
Measures the social and financial value created by a nonprofit, NGO or business. SROI is an approach to understanding and managing the impacts of a project, an organization or a policy. It is based on stakeholders and puts financial values on the important impacts identified by stakeholders which do not have market values.

Social venture capital
Social venture capital applies methods from venture capital financing to achieving social or philanthropic goals. These methods may include investing financial and human capital to build capacity, high investor involvement, a focus on measurable results, and accepting risks. Also known as venture philanthropy or philanthrocapitalism.

Stakeholder Engagement
The process by which a firm’s stakeholders engage in meaningful, 2-way dialog to improve a firm’s decision-making and accountability toward corporate social responsibility (CSR) and achieving the triple bottom line, taking into account the concerns and objectives of a firm’s stakeholders in its decisions, which may include businesses, employees, customers,  non-governmental organizations, labor organizations, trade and industry organizations, governments, financial institutions, and local communities.

The capacity to maintain or endure current levels of development and demand on environmental, social,  and economic resources. Forms of progress that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Sustainable development
Resource utilization that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that such needs may also be met in future generations. Sustainable development ties social challenges with concern for the carrying capacity of natural systems.

Third sector
Also called voluntary sector or non-profit sector is the economic sector consisting of organizations that are non-profit and non-governmental.

Triple Bottom Line
Triple Bottom Line accounting measures and describes not only the economic or financial results of an organization’s activities, but also its the social and environmental impact. Triple Bottom Line or TBL / 3BL is also known as “People, Planet, Profit”.

UN Millennium Development Goals; UN Global Compact
Eight international development goals officially established at the 2000 Millennium Summit, with all 192 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015. They include reducing extreme poverty, reducing child mortality rates, fighting disease epidemics such as AIDS, and developing a global partnership for development

Viral marketing
Marketing techniques in the form of  that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing through self-replicating viral processes. It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet.